Miri Baram was born in Moscow and came to Israel with her family in 1990. Like many new Russian immigrants struggling to meet the challenges of coming to a new country, they settled in the development town of Ramle.
Miri attends the Yoana Jabotinsky High School in Be'er Yaakov. She is bright, articulate and defies the stereotype of Ramle teenagers – many of whom drop out of high school. Miri has excellent grades: her grade-point average is 95.
This doesn't mean however, that Miri doesn't struggle with her coursework; she finds science subjects the most dificult.When she heard about the Pre-Atidim Program in her school, Miri was eager to join.
"This is a completely new concept," says Miri, "helping honor students to advance. There are times when the teacher doesn't teach the material well and there is nowhere to turn for help. We cannot afford private tutors."
The Pre-Atidim Program gives extra assistance to students like Miri. Each student receives individualized assistance in order to help them achieve an advanced high-school diploma. Additional enrichment activities such as university lectures, volunteer work, summer camps, and challenge activities, provide further opportunities for social and personal development.
"The lessons are more fun and the atmosphere less stressed," says Miri. "I don’t mind staying after school one day a week until 6:00 p.m. because I know this is helping me." Miri plans to study at university and wants to major in economics or business administration. She is thinking of joining Atidim's Academic Reserve Program, where she will receive a full scholarship and advance in her military service at the same time.
In its first year (2002), the Pre-Atidim Program operated in 40 schools in 20 Israeli communities, reaching approximately 2,000 high school students. The program has been so successful that it is now operating in 110 schools in more than 50 towns, reaching 8,000 students. The goal is to reach 20,000 students per year over the next few years.
Atidim offers today's disadvantaged youth a more positive and enriching future. By bolstering traditionally disenfranchised bright young people, including new immigrants, Atidim truly transforms the landscape of Israeli society.
The average cost to support one student is $1,100 per year.